On a bitterly cold and rapidly darkening Monday, the top of the table clash between St Anne’s (1st) and Langold (2nd) got underway. Langold were hit with some (very!) last minute team selection issues with centre back Jayden and midfielder Joel failing a late fitness test (and forgetting their kit). With Mr Hays pulling out his hair, the team warmed up by moving the nets from the MUGA onto the boggy field.
A handshake between the teams preceded the kick off and with both squads playing in light blue and with the moon providing the only light it was going to be a close-run affair!
The whistle blew and the ball was kicked, immediately working its way back to the Langold defence. The formation was slightly altered with Logano forfeiting his usual position in the goal for a defensive midfield spot. The early minutes were dominated by Langold; with Ronnie, Ziggi and Harrison all coming close. St Anne’s had the style of play that was best suited for the counter-attack with their defence enjoying playing the ball out from the back. This led to a thoroughly entertaining end-to-end game, with Langold attacking in waves and St Anne’s grabbing the initiative on the counter. On one such attack, Kieran forced their keeper to push the ball out for a corner. This allowed Ronnie to dish up a tasty cross to be met by Ziggi’s head… which sailed over the bar.
With over 13 minutes played, the game was balancing on a knife edge when Harrison came to the party. The teeny-tiny striker picked up the ball on the wing, twisted the defender inside out and shot into the corner of the net from 25 yards out. Miniature Pogba then performed possibly the worst celebration ever seen on a football field, he attempted a ‘dab’ to be like his Man Utd hero. However, he didn’t commit to it fully, the result being an awkward wiping of his fringe… this was poor from Harrison and he knew it!
With time ticking down ‘til half time, Mr Hays knew that a second goal here would put Langold in the driver’s seat. However, the visitors must have psychic powers because they pushed and pushed the Langoldians up the pitch towards their own net, looking for the equaliser. If it wasn’t for Warren and Alec at the back, the score would have been completely different. Alec dealt with any threats from the air with great confidence and if the speedy St Anne’s wingers got past him, Warren dived into tackles with great gusto to put the attack to a stop.
Sadly, it was one attack too many as Warren made a crunching tackle, to see the ball ricochet off his legs into the path of the St Anne’s striker. The following shot was a tame effort which trickled harmlessly towards Will in the net. However, to the defence and Will’s surprise the speedy winger from the tackle had gotten to his feet and sprinted towards Will. He nipped in front of the green-shirted keeper and slotted the ball home into the net. As always with Langold, the whistle blew seconds after they scored and it was half time.
An in-depth discussion took place as the sun finally set. The team decided that the best way forward was to attack and really put their excitable defence under pressure. The formation changed again; Harrison was chosen to lead the line with Ronnie and Ziggi on either wing. Kurt and Kieran bossed the middle of the park with Alec and Warren sitting at the back accompanied by Logano in front of them. With Curtis on the bench; it was going to be all out attack for Langold as they tried to press home an advantage over the league leaders.
“Attack…. Attack…. Attack…. Attack!” yelled Curtis, his bright pink gloves flashing in the moonlight! Sadly, his chants were encouraging St Anne’s as Langold looked over at him very confused! St Anne’s had a free-kick which was taken by their very own Cristiano Ronaldo! He ran up, put an excellent shot just over the wall onto Will’s net. The crowd held its breath…. The ball dipped…. The striker began to celebrate…. BUT WILL HAD OTHER PLANS! He tipped the ball over the crossbar to produce a breath-taking save! The crowd cheered and Langold lived to fight another day.
The 2nd half then carried onwards in the same fashion as the first. Curtis came on for Kurt; removing his pink gloves and taking his place as a striker! The boys from School Road really pressed hard, having a large percentage of possession and with corner after corner they looked certain to grab the winner in the dying seconds. However, it was to no avail as the whistle blew for full time and the boys shook their opponent’s hands. It really was the best advert for school football that anyone could have asked for.
Will - 8/10 – He took his first full game in the nets with a fresh confidence, making excellent saves in the second half. He really is coming on as goalkeeper and needs to believe it himself!
Warren – 7/10 – A quiet game by his usual high standards, he seemed to thoroughly commit himself to every tackle but that sometimes led him into trouble!
Alec – 7/10 – A fairly solid game for Alec, he supported the defence well and proved crucial in the midfield. His ability to head the ball has really improved as well throughout the season.
Logan – 8/10 – After being asked to play in a completely alien position, he responded brilliantly by making excellent tackles and insightful passes.
Kieran – 7/10 – A dominant game in the midfield today for Captain Kieran, he was closely marked throughout the match which led to some frustration. However, when he got the chance to unleash his powerful shot, he looked a real threat!
Kurt – 7/10 – Ran around the midfield well and tried his hardest to cut out the short passes from their defence. Showed great energy and positional awareness in their box.
Curtis – 9/10 – Wore a most excellent pair of pink gloves throughout the first half and when asked to play a crucial role up front did it with impressive effects!
Ronnie – 8/10 – In a close game, that spent the majority of play in the midfield, he jumped into tackles and looked impressive on the attack. He has the ability to always look a threat.
Ziggi – 8/10 – Thoroughly expressive performance, he showed off his tricks and flicks. The finishing touch was just missing from Ziggi this match, he just had to find himself a yard of space to unleash his shot.
Harrison – 10/10 – MAN OF THE MATCH - He bagged his 5th goal of the campaign and looked very threatening as well. He enjoyed the freedom given to him from the floating position in front of their defence.